Liverpool have confirmed that new signing Philippe Coutinho will not feature in their trip to Manchester City on Sunday. The Brazilian joined from Inter in the final days of January’s transfer window, but Liverpool fans will have to wait to see him in action.
Perhaps that won’t be too much of a blow, however, with Jordan Henderson flourishing of late in an offensive midfield role. The 22-year-old was much criticized in his first season at Anfield last term, but he has now scored in his last two Premier League outings and is beginning to show the promise that persuaded Liverpool to shell out £16 million.
Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe has said that Henderson’s attitude has been exemplary.
"He's confident but he is still quiet and humble and he works hard,” he said, according to Liverpool’s website. “He's been playing and he's been playing well. He's scored goals and shown on the pitch just how much he is enjoying his football at the moment.
"He can go as far as he wants to go [in his career]. He'll take it one step at a time. He works hard in training and in each game.”
Henderson looked to have secured Liverpool a first three points of the season against a team above them in the league standings when he put the Reds 2-0 up at Arsenal on Wednesday. But Arsenal would fight back to earn a draw, meaning that Liverpool travel to City still looking to remove that particular monkey from their back.
The match carries huge importance for City. Manchester United’s win against Fulham on Saturday leaves their neighbors trailing by 10 points and knowing that they can ill afford another slip up of the type they produced in drawing 0-0 with Queens Park Rangers last time out.
City’s only business in the transfer window involved the decision that Mario Balotelli’s contribution on the pitch no longer justified his considerable baggage as the Italian was sold to Milan.
The problems for Roberto Mancini on Sunday, though, are at the back. Vincent Komapny, Micah Richards and Maicon are all ruled out through injury, which leaves the City manager hoping that Matija Nastasic will recover from a knee injury in time.
Manchester City (probable)
D: Zabaleta, Nastasic, Lescott, Clichy
M: Garcia, Barry
Milner, Aguero, Silva
D: Johnson, Skrtle, Agger, Enrique
M: Lucas, Gerrard
Sterling, Henderson, Suarez
Prediction: With the exception of the FA Cup defeat to Oldham, Liverpool have been in good form of late with the arrival of Daniel Sturridge making them a more fluid looking side going forward. Yet there remains a brittleness to the team as they showed once more in conceding two quick-fire goals against Arsenal. Against a City side that have been strong at home all season, Liverpool may just come up short.
Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool
Where to watch: the Barclays Premier League clash will kick-off from the Etihad at 11 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, with an online stream available later in the day on Fox Soccer 2Go.